Dauphine Victoire

Philip V of Spain

Philip V of Spain (December 19, 1683 - July 9, 1746), born Philippe de France, fils de France and duc d'Anjou, was king of Spain from 1700 to 1724 and 1724 to 1746, the first of the Bourbon dynasty in Spain.

Philip was the second son of Louis, le Grand Dauphin and Maria Anna of Bavaria, known as Dauphine Victoire. He was a younger brother of Louis, duc de Bourgogne and an uncle of Louis XV of France.

His paternal grandparents were Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and Adelaide Henriette of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy.

Early life

Philip was born at the Palace of Versailles in France. His older brother, Louis de France, duc de Bourgogne, was in line to the throne right after his father, Le Grand Dauphin, thus leaving him and his younger brother, Charles de France, duc de Berry little expectation to ever rule over France.

Claims to the Spanish Throne

In the year 1700, the King of Spain, Charles II, died. Charles' will named the 17-year old Philip, the grandson of Charles' sister Maria Theresa of Spain, as his successor. Upon any possible refusal the Crown of Spain would be offered next to Philip's younger brother Charles, duc de Berry, or, next, to Archduke Charles of Austria

Both claimants had a legal right due to the fact that Philip's grandfather, King Louis XIV of France and Charles's father, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold, were both the husbands of Charles' older half sisters and sons of Charles' aunts.

Philip had the better claim because his grandmother and great-grandmother were older than Leopold's. However, the Austrian branch claimed that Philip's grandmother had renounced the Spanish throne for her descendants as part of her marriage contract. This was countered by the French branch's claim that it was on the basis of a dowry that had never been paid.

After a long council meeting where the Dauphin spoke up in favour of his son's rights, it was agreed that Philip would ascend the throne but would forever renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants, . It was not difficult to see whether Louis would have refused, as a Habsburg ruler in Spain would have put a possible enemy on three frontiers.

After the Royal Council decided to accept Charles' will naming Philip King of Spain, the Spanish ambassador was called in and introduced to his new King. The ambassador, along with his son, knelt before Philip and made a long speech in Spanish which Philip did not understand, although Louis XIV did. Ironically, Philip had only begun taking Spanish lessons that day.

War of Spanish Succession

However, the other powers of Europe contested the idea, eventually leading to the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Although Philip was allowed to remain on the Spanish throne, Spain was forced to cede Minorca and Gibraltar to Great Britain; the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan, and Sardinia to the Austrian Habsburgs; and Sicily and parts of the Milanese to Savoy.

These losses greatly diminished the Spanish Empire in Europe, which had already been in decline. Throughout his reign, Philip sought to reverse the decline of Spanish power as Great Britain increasingly began to dominate at sea.


First Marriage

He married his double-second cousin Maria Louisa of Savoy (17 September 1688February 14, 1714) on November 3, 1701 and they had 4 sons:

Second Marriage

He married Elizabeth Farnese, Princess of Parma, (25 October 169211 July 1766), on 24 December 1714, they had 7 children:


On January 14, 1724, Philip abdicated the throne to his eldest son, Louis I, but resumed it later that year when Louis died of smallpox.

Philip helped his Bourbon relatives to make territorial gains in the War of the Polish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession by reconquering Naples and Sicily from Austria and Oran from the Ottomans. Finally, at the end of his reign Spanish forces also successfully defended their American territories from a large British invasion during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

During his reign Spain began to recover from the stagnation it had suffered during the twilight of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. Ferdinand VI of Spain, his son by his first queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, succeeded him.

Philip was afflicted by fits of manic depression and increasingly fell victim to a deep melancholia. His second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, completely dominated her passive husband. She bore him further sons, including another successor, Charles III of Spain. He was later helped with his affliction by the castrato singer Carlo Broschi, famously known as Farinelli, who, for twenty years, sang the same four arias each night to the king before he went to sleep .

Philip died on July 9, 1746 and was buried in his favorite Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.


  • To commemorate the indignities the city of Xàtiva suffered after Philip's victory in the Battle of Almansa in the War of the Spanish Succession, in which he ordered the city to be burned, and renamed to San Felipe, the portrait of the monarch hangs upside down in the local museum of L'Almodí ).
  • An equestrian statue of Philip V was commissioned during his lifetime to be erected in Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru. It came crashing down in a huge earthquake in 1746, the same month Philip V himself died. The statue was never replaced.




  • Armstrong, Edward (1892). Elizabeth Farnese: "The Termagant of Spain". London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Kamen, Henry (2001). Philip V of Spain: The King Who Reigned Twice. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08718-7.
  • Petrie, Sir Charles (1958). The Spanish Royal House. London: Geoffrey Bles.


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